NEW YORK – The WNBA announced today that Phoenix Mercury center Brittney Griner is the recipient of the WNBA Cares Community Assist Award for June. The award honors Griner’s efforts in championing the safe return of wrongful detainees overseas and continued contributions to help marginalized communities in the Phoenix area.
“I’m grateful to receive the community assist award and even happier to be able to donate the award money to causes that mean a great deal to me: Phoenix Rescue Mission, my partner in my annual shoe drive, and Bring Our Families Home, an organization close to my heart that is advocating for the safe return of American hostages abroad,” said Griner. “Thank you to all the fans in Phoenix and league-wide who joined me in supporting these causes by donating shoes or writing letters. My commitment will continue to be helping those who are struggling and shining a light on wrongfully detained Americans who should be home with their families.”
Since rejoining the Mercury in February 2023, Griner has teamed with Bring Our Families Home, an organization that works with families of Americans held hostage or wrongfully detained to spread awareness about their cases. Griner and the Mercury have also hosted families and friends through this program at Mercury games in Phoenix and around the country when the team visits other markets.
As part of the partnership with Bring Our Families Home, Phoenix is hosting a letter-writing station at every regular-season home game this season for fans to draft hand-written notes of hope and encouragement to those detained and calls for action to elected officials to continue to work to bring individuals home. Griner has helped the Mercury collect over 100 letters, and other WNBA teams are also participating in the letter-writing campaign at their home games against Phoenix.
In addition, Griner has continued to support unhoused individuals in the Phoenix community through BG’s Heart and Sole Shoe Drive, which she founded in 2016. In seven home games this season through June, the Mercury collected more than 1,000 pairs of shoes to be donated to individuals in need.
For the sixth year, Griner and the Mercury have teamed up with Phoenix Rescue Mission, a local nonprofit that provides comprehensive solutions for men, women and children trapped in cycles of homelessness, addiction and poverty. Earlier this season, Griner, along with volunteers from the Mercury and Phoenix Rescue Mission, distributed shoes, hygiene kits and water to those in need across Phoenix, and will continue with additional distribution events the remainder of the season.
In recognition of Griner’s efforts, the WNBA will make a $2,500 donation to Bring Our Families Home and a $2,500 donation to Phoenix Rescue Mission.
Each month during the season, the WNBA Cares Community Assist Award recognizes a player who best demonstrates the passion that the league and WNBA players share for giving back to their communities.